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Linux Configuration Directory

The configuration directory contains configured files which configures the parameters and initial settings for some computer programs.

Configuration directory have following sub-diectories:

  • /boot
  • /etc


The '/boot' directory contains boot loader files which are essential to boot the system. In other words, they only contain files which are needed for a basic Linux system to get up and going.

You may find '/boot/grub' directory which contains '/boot/grub/grub.cfg' (older system may have /boot/grub/grub.conf) which defines boot menu that is displayed before the kernel starts.


Linux fhs Configuration directroy1

Look at the above snapshot, command "ls /boot" displays the list of '/boot' directory.


All the machine related configurtion files are kept in '/etc'. Almost everything related to the configuration of your system is placed here. It also contain startup and shutdown shell script which is used to start and stop a program. All the files are static and text based and no binary files can be placed in this directory.

The meaning of 'etc' is very controversial. Earlier it was referred to as 'Etcetera' because it could contain all the files that did not belong from anywhere else. But recently its most likely meaning is 'Editable Text Configuration' or 'Extended Tool chest'.

Configuration files will have an extension of .conf.


Linux fhs Configuration directroy2

ls /etc

Look at the above snapshot, command "ls /etc" displays the list of '/etc' directory.

Some common directories of /etc are:

  • /etc/init.d/: The term 'init' is short for initialization. This directory contains script to control the system or to start and stop the daemons (background process). The 'init' is a daemon process that continues running until the system is shut down.
  • /etc/X11/: The X Window system configuration files are stored in this directory. The configuration file of graphical display (xorg.conf) is also stored here.
  • /etc/skel/: The term 'skel' is short for skeleton. Everything in the system has a skeleton which is called hidden file and is stored in this directory. It is not an important part in the system and can be deleted but still it serves a specific purpose. Its purpose is to serve the basic set of files, a basic framework which can be used in the creation of a new user.

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